Ways to Cure the "Grass Is Greener" Syndrome

Back in my early twenties one of my first jobs was in sales. But I didn’t just sell, I was taught to be a “one sit close,” slicker than a used car salesman, vulture-esque, closing machine. No remorse for people’s situations. No concern for their wallets. Sell them, and sell them at the highest price to get myself the highest commission possible. oh yes, the glamorous life of a home improvement salesman. At the time I had two roommates and all three of us worked for the same company. We sold sunrooms, grossly overpriced windows, and siding. And we lived the bachelor lifestyle to the max. We worked maybe 25 hours/week, went out 4 nights per week+, rarely woke up before 11am, and made great money for fresh out of college young twenty something bachelors. When we would talk to our friends, they would always ask about it. They wanted to know what we did, why we made so much money, and why it seemed like we never worked. And of course, how we got the job. They would always envy our lifestyles as they were humping it 9-5 everyday in their cubicles for pay that could barely cover the cost of their rent and college loans. So what do you think happened to these poor souls? Well, many actually attempted to work the job. Enter the thorn on our seemingly perfect job rose.

I honestly hated my job and my life at the time. It was miserable. For starters, it was a 100% commission job. When you started with the company you got what was known as a “draw.” You received a small weekly paycheck to allow you to survive. Awesome right!? Too bad you had to pay it back. So if you didn’t come out of the gate guns blazing then you were up a creek without a paddle. Fortunately for me I was damn good at the job, but many of our friends who attempted it, did not fair quite as well. The appointments with customers, or “leads” as we called them in salesman speak, often times resembled trips to satan’s doorstep more than a friendly, neighborly visit to discuss how we could help people improve their homes. Hell, a friend of mine actually had to go to a lead in a bonafide crack shack. The worst part about leads is that there was so much pressure on us to pitch every lead that when walking into the crack shack, he actually pitched the crack heads! And if you were lucky enough to close a sale (a 20% closing rate meant you were an all star), you would turn in the paperwork and sit at the altar for the next three days praying for the deal “to go good.” There was a three day right of rescission law in which customers could cancel the contract and more times than we cared to admit, that’s precisely what they did. Following the three day right of rescission then our contractors had to go out and make sure they could do the project. Guess what, we couldn’t always pull off the building of a sunroom on a pool deck with rotting support beams. So combine the 100% commission with difficult customers and the constant threat of deals falling through and you’ve got yourself a good old fashion stress filled pressure cooker. Is there any wonder why we felt the need to go out drinking 5 nights/week? We were just trying to forget the fact that we had to go do our job the next day.

We all know this crazy condition of male jealousy. Our perception tells us that our yard is starting to brown like a Texas plains cotton field while our neighbors is growing a crisp green that would make the superintendent of Augusta National blush. So why do we feel this way? Why can’t we just be happy with what we have? How can we change this inevitable evil of human nature? The answer lies in our unending constantly competing human needs. Two of which compete with one another to cause us to question often whether or not what we are currently doing is good enough.

1) Stability and Comfort

2) Instability and Variety

So wait…We want stability and comfort. That makes sense. A roof over our head. A constant stream of income at a job we know how to do. A supportive girlfriend who is always there for us. But we also want variety. So we want to live in different places? Work new and exciting jobs? And experience many different women? Doesn’t quite make sense does it? Or does it? This brings us to one of my favorite words; Balance. And with the two needs of stability and instability we are always looking for a balance. Too much stability and we wind up in a place of boredom. Too much instability and we become unnerved with anxiety, fear, and stress.

What are some strategies to combat the stability vs. instability paradigm?

In Our Health

1) This is for sure the easiest to correct. If your workout is stale, then change it up. Maybe you’re hitting the weights by yourself four days/week. Join a weight lifting team, start taking classes, or find a lifting partner. Check out meetup.com. There are groups for everything there. And if there isn’t, you can start your own.

2) If you are someone new to working out, the single biggest factor keeping us from continuing with our new found pledge to physical fitness is that we find it too painful. The gains(weight loss) are not happening fast enough to justify the pain of working out. For those of us who can’t seem to quite find our swagger, we just have to keep trying different ways of getting our sweat on until we find something that we like doing. Trust me when I say this. If you can find a sport or class, etc that you become totally engrossed in the activity, you will soon forget the pain.

In Our Jobs

1) Know that growth is going to be crucial in this area of our lives. We often make the mistake of getting way too comfortable at our jobs and then we turn around and realize how unfulfilled and lazy we have become. I’m not telling you to quit and go start a business here, but start looking for new challenges at your current job or if they are not available start looking at other job options.

2) If you have chosen the path of entrepreneur, actor, musician, etc know that you are on a long term road here and nothing happens overnight. This is a path of a lot of variety and a lot of ups and downs. Find a supplemental job to give your life some much needed comfort. Your wallet and your stress levels will thank you.

In Our Relationships

1) This can be a tough one. For this balance to work, this requires a few key things. First that both people in the relationship grow individually at an equitable pace. An entrepreneur dating a teacher is probably going to present more challenges than an entrepreneur dating an actress. There is more variety in being an entrepreneur than in being a teacher and more comfort and stability in being a teacher than an entrepreneur. Secondly there needs to be support and stability offered by both people while at the same time offering variety in relationship experience. Often relationships grow boring over time because we fall into very predictable relationship patterns. If your occasional Netflix night turns into a Netflix weekend, then you know things need to be spiced up.

2) The need to spread the seed. This is a very real thing for men. After all, it’s a built in mechanism to ensure the continuation of our species. I’m not going to go into detail here. If you want more info please refer to my blogs on Utopialifeonline.com